NCAA Basketball Picks: Grab Providence In Big East Matchup vs. Villanova

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, January 23, 2016 5:40 PM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 5:40 PM UTC

Great Big East matchup between No. 16 Providence and No. 4 Villanova at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly on Sunday afternoon. Join us and review our NCAA basketball picks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Providence +12½
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Providence Ends Home Skid
I was always skeptical this game was going to be played as scheduled on Saturday with that massive winter storm hitting the Northeast area of the United States, and on Thursday it was moved to its current Sunday 1 p.m. ET start. I suppose there's still a chance it could be moved again depending on how hard hit that area is.

It's the second game in a row against a ranked team for Providence (16-4, 4-2 Big East), when then has to host No. 5 Xavier on Tuesday and at surging Georgetown next Saturday. The Friars beat No. 18 Butler 71-68 on Tuesday in Providence. All-American junior guard Kris Dunn banked in a 3-pointer with 1:11 left to give the Friars a five-point lead and what would prove to be the winning basket. As usual, Dunn filled the stat sheet with nine points, seven assists, five rebounds and one steal. Sophomore Ben Bentil paced the Friars with 20 points. Bentil leads the conference in scoring at 19.2 points per game and Dunn is No. 2 at 17.2 ppg. Dunn leads the Big East in assists (6.7 per game) and steals (2.9 per game). He's good and will be a lottery pick in this summer's NBA Draft.

The Friars needed that win over Butler considering they already had lost back-to-back home games to Marquette and Seton Hall.

“I thought this was one of the biggest games on our schedule, knowing we’re about to play arguably three of the better teams in our league,” Coach Ed Cooley said to the local media. “It was a ‘must win’ for us in my opinion.”

Things aren't quite fixed yet at Providence was just 5-for-22 from long range and 18-for-89 in the past four games, only 20.2 percent. The Friars are 11-7 against the spread this season on NCAA basketball odds.


Wildcats Put 22-Game Streak On Line
Villanova (17-2, 7-0) could climb to No. 1 in the new polls depending on what happens this weekend because No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 3 Kansas already have lost. No. 2 North Carolina has a potentially tricky game at Virginia Tech on Sunday evening.

The Wildcats won their ninth straight game Wednesday and 22nd in a row in Big East play, 72-71 at Seton Hall. Ryan Arcidiacono hit a go-ahead layup with 32.4 seconds to play and Daniel Ochefu blocked a Seton Hall layup attempt shortly after. Josh Hart finished with his fifth double-double in the last nine games -- 15 points and 10 rebounds --  to lead Villanova. Hart, the 2015 Big East Sixth Man of the Year, is approaching the 1,000-point plateau at Villanova as he now has 924. One weakness for the Wildcats this season has been 3-point shooting. They are only eighth in the conference in making 32.0 percent. Nova has connected on 40 percent or better in just five games.

Clearly the individual matchup to watch here is between Dunn and Arcidiacono, the two point guards who shared the Big East Player of the Year honor a season ago. Also, this game isn't being played on campus at The Pavilion but at the downtown Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center. Villanova was 5-0 there last season and has won 32 straight game at home over three sites: The Pavilion, Wells Fargo Center, and one game in Allentown, Pa. Villanova last lost at home Jan. 20, 2014, when Creighton won 98-68 at the Wells Fargo Center.

This is the fifth ranked team Villanova has played this season. The Cats are 2-2, losing to Oklahoma and Virginia, both away from home. They beat Xavier and Butler, the latter on the road.  Nova is 9-8-1 ATS on NCAA basketball picks this season.


Last Season
Villanova was 3-0 against Providence in 2014-15, including a 63-61 victory in the Big East Tournament semifinals at Madison Square Garden. Arcidiacono hit two free throws with 3.1 seconds left after an iffy foul call. Dunn had tied the game with a layup off a turnover with 12.4 seconds remaining. Dunn had 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Ochefu had 15 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks for Villanova. The Friars' last win over the Wildcats was a 55-52 at Villanova on Feb. 3, 2013


Betting Analysis
I expect plenty of zone defense from Villanova as Providence only shoots 30.7 percent from long range. Also believe the game-time shift benefits the home club. So I have little doubt Nova wins. But that's a lot of points. Take Providence for your Sunday's college basketball picks. The Friars are 8-0 ATS in their past eight road games. Villanova is 1-4 ATS in its past five Big East games. 

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